Virtually everyone loves Christmas stories. When I was a child, every year we saw Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol.” You know, the story of a man who was mean and greedy, and who thought the only important thing in life was money, until he was confronted by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, and realized that without love, money isn’t worth anything.
Or, O’Henry’s “Gift of the Magi” about two young people, just married, who sell what they love most to give each other that special gift, a chain for his watch and combs for her hair. They didn’t have any money, but they had love.
And, of course, there’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” in which an angel gets his wings and a troubled man discovers that life is beautiful and his life matters regardless of his problems.
Christmas is all about love. God’s love for you. Jesus born in a stable, becoming a child just like us, because God loves you and every child and all of us are children. When Jesus was born, God was saying that I’m giving you everything I have so you will know you matter, you are loved, and you can do great things, just like my boy Jesus.
Some people just don’t get the message. Everyone loved Christmas in Who-ville, except Grinch. Christmas can be a happy time for kids and adults, right?
What’s the happiest part of Christmas to you?
No one, and maybe not even the Grinch himself, knew why he hated Christmas – all we can speculate was that his heart was two sizes too small.
He just couldn’t fit love or happiness or sharing into his heart. All he could think about was himself and how much he hated the laughter, presents, and celebration of Christmas.
He wanted to get rid of Christmas in Who-ville. Do you know what he did?
He thought that if the children didn’t get presents or candy or cake, Christmas would just go away. And, so he went down every chimney and took every toy in every Who’s house and from every Who’s mouse.
He expected to hear cries and tears. But Christmas morning, he heard another sound…it started low, a sound of laughter and kids playing…
How could it be? How could they be happy without presents or a big Christmas dinner?
Everyone was in a circle, singing with glee….
And that day, the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes – big enough to include everyone in Who-ville – as he joined the crowd and carved the “roast beast.”
You know, that first Christmas, when Jesus was born, there wasn’t a tree and there weren’t any toys. But, there was something more important, something even better – there was a family who just had a baby and they loved him with all their heart (and I know that when you were born, someone loved you with all their heart, and some of those folk are in this room, right?)
I believe that “you can see the face of God in every baby.”(Pelagius) And, I believe that we can’t get rid of God’s love any more than Grinch can get rid of Christmas.
So, Christmas is about having the biggest heart you can, not letting it get small, but letting it grow as you get older.
How can you grow your biggest heart?
And, you know who had the biggest heart of all, and helps us have the biggest heart – it was that baby, Jesus, who grew up loving children, and loving us when we grow up, and saying that when you let your heart grow big, life is beautiful even when it’s hard; and everyone belongs, even when they’re in a bad mood; and we can see his face – Jesus’ face, the face of love – in everyone we meet.
Christmas isn’t just toys or gifts, or a big meal. It’s about love. God’s love, and our choosing to love, even when it’s hard, and doing loving things every day of the week. Then, Christmas is always here, and every day is a gift…and Oh your heart will grow – three sizes or more!